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Demographic Dividend or Demographic Threat in Pakistan?

  • Durr-e-Nayab

    (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.)

Population growth and size have remained the focus of debate for centuries but the recent demographic transition in developing countries has made social scientists take note of the changing age structure of the population as well. As a result of declining population growth and consequent changes in age structure, the proportion of working-age population is increasing in most developing countries. An associated decline in the dependent age population offers a window of opportunity, referred to as the ‘demographic dividend’. Pakistan is also going through the demographic transition, and is experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime demographic dividend as the working-age population bulges and the dependency ratio declines. This paper looks into the demographic dividend being offered to Pakistan and its implications for the country, mainly through three mechanisms: labour supply, savings, and human capital. For economic benefits to materialise, there is a need for policies dealing with education, public health, and those that promote labour market flexibility and provide incentives for investment and savings. On the contrary, if appropriate policies are not formulated, the demographic dividend might, in fact, be a cost, leading to unemployment and an unbearable strain on education, health, and old age security.

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Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

Volume (Year): 47 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:47:y:2008:i:1:p:1-26
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  1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jocelyn E. Finlay, 2008. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," PGDA Working Papers 4108, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  2. Nadeem A. Burney & Ashfaque H. Khan, 1992. "Socio-economic Characteristics and Household Savings: An Analysis of the Households' Saving Behaviour in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 31-48.
  3. Higgins, Matthew, 1998. "Demography, National Savings, and International Capital Flows," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 343-69, May.
  4. Ashfaque H. Khan & Lubna Hasan & Afia Malik, 1992. "Dependency Ratio, Foreign Capital Inflows and the Rate of Savings in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 843-856.
  5. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "Global demographic change : dimensions and economic significance," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 9-56.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Diego Comin & Peter Howitt & Isabel Tecu, 2009. "When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-080, Harvard Business School.
  7. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-55, September.
  8. Srinivasan, T. N., 1988. "Population growth and economic development," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 7-28, April.
  9. Leff, Nathaniel H, 1969. "Dependency Rates and Savings Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(5), pages 886-96, December.
  10. Kelley, Allen C. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1995. "Aggregate Population and Economic Growth Correlations: The Role of the Components of Demographic Change," Working Papers 95-37, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  11. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  12. David E. Bloom & Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "Population Growth, Labor Supply, and Employment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 1837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Nadeem Ul Haque, 2006. "Beyond Planning and Mercantilism: An Evaluation of Pakistan’s Growth Strategy," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 3-48.
  14. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jaypee Sevilla, 2001. "Economic Growth and the Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 8685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2006. "A dime a day : the possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4066, The World Bank.
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